The Lojban Reference Grammar

This version corresponds to the printed first edition of
The Complete Lojban Language by John Woldemar Cowan
ISBN 0-9660283-0-9
Copyright © 1997 by The Logical Language Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
with Errata. A complete list of changes from the online draft version can be found here.
Please support the LLG and buy the printed version!
  1. Lojban As We Mangle It In Lojbanistan: About This Book
    1. What is Lojban?
    2. What is this book?
    3. What are the typographical conventions of this book?
    4. Disclaimers
    5. Acknowledgements and Credits
    6. Informal Bibliography
    7. Captions to Pictures
    8. Boring Legalities
  2. A Quick Tour of Lojban Grammar, With Diagrams
    1. The concept of the bridi
    2. Pronunciation
    3. Words that can act as sumti
    4. Some words used to indicate selbri relations
    5. Some simple Lojban bridi
    6. Variant bridi structure
    7. Varying the order of sumti
    8. The basic structure of longer utterances
    9. tanru
    10. Description sumti
    11. Examples of brivla
    12. The sumti “di'u” and “la'e di'u”
    13. Possession
    14. Vocatives and commands
    15. Questions
    16. Indicators
    17. Tenses
    18. Lojban grammatical terms
  3. The Hills Are Alive With The Sounds Of Lojban
    1. Orthography
    2. Basic Phonetics
    3. The Special Lojban Characters
    4. Diphthongs and Syllabic Consonants
    5. Vowel Pairs
    6. Consonant Clusters
    7. Initial Consonant Pairs
    8. Buffering Of Consonant Clusters
    9. Syllabication And Stress
    10. IPA For English Speakers
    11. English Analogues For Lojban Diphthongs
    12. Oddball Orthographies
  4. The Shape Of Words To Come: Lojban Morphology
    1. Introductory
    2. cmavo
    3. brivla
    4. gismu
    5. lujvo
    6. rafsi
    7. fu'ivla
    8. cmene
    9. Rules for inserting pauses
    10. Considerations for making lujvo
    11. The lujvo-making algorithm
    12. The lujvo scoring algorithm
    13. lujvo-making examples
    14. The gismu creation algorithm
    15. Cultural and other non-algorithmic gismu
    16. rafsi fu'ivla: a proposal
  5. “Pretty Little Girls’ School”: The Structure Of Lojban selbri
    1. Lojban content words: brivla
    2. Simple tanru
    3. Three-part tanru grouping with “bo”
    4. Complex tanru grouping
    5. Complex tanru with “ke” and “ke'e”
    6. Logical connection within tanru
    7. Linked sumti: “be–bei–be'o”
    8. Inversion of tanru: “co”
    9. Other kinds of simple selbri
    10. selbri based on sumti: “me”
    11. Conversion of simple selbri
    12. Scalar negation of selbri
    13. Tenses and bridi negation
    14. Some types of asymmetrical tanru
    15. Some types of symmetrical tanru
    16. “Pretty little girls’ school”: forty ways to say it
  6. To Speak Of Many Things: The Lojban sumti
    1. The five kinds of simple sumti
    2. The three basic description types
    3. Individuals and masses
    4. Masses and sets
    5. Descriptors for typical objects
    6. Quantified sumti
    7. Quantified descriptions
    8. Indefinite descriptions
    9. sumti-based descriptions
    10. sumti qualifiers
    11. The syntax of vocative phrases
    12. Lojban names
    13. Pro-sumti summary
    14. Quotation summary
    15. Number summary
  7. Brevity Is The Soul Of Language: Pro-sumti And Pro-bridi
    1. What are pro-sumti and pro-bridi? What are they for?
    2. Personal pro-sumti: the mi-series
    3. Demonstrative pro-sumti: the ti-series
    4. Utterance pro-sumti: the di'u-series
    5. Assignable pro-sumti and pro-bridi: the ko'a-series and the broda-series
    6. Anaphoric pro-sumti and pro-bridi: the ri-series and the go'i-series
    7. Indefinite pro-sumti and pro-bridi: the zo'e-series and the co'e-series
    8. Reflexive and reciprocal pro-sumti: the vo'a-series
    9. sumti and bridi questions: “ma” and “mo”
    10. Relativized pro-sumti: “ke'a”
    11. Abstraction focus pro-sumti: “ce'u”
    12. Bound variable pro-sumti and pro-bridi: the da-series and the bu'a-series
    13. Pro-sumti and pro-bridi cancelling
    14. The identity predicate: du
    15. lujvo based on pro-sumti
    16. KOhA cmavo by series
    17. GOhA and other pro-bridi by series
    18. Other cmavo discussed in this chapter
  8. Relative Clauses, Which Make sumti Even More Complicated
    1. What are you pointing at?
    2. Incidental relative clauses
    3. Relative phrases
    4. Multiple relative clauses: “zi'e”
    5. Non-veridical relative clauses: “voi”
    6. Relative clauses and descriptors
    7. Possessive sumti
    8. Relative clauses and complex sumti: “vu'o”
    9. Relative clauses in vocative phrases
    10. Relative clauses within relative clauses
    11. Index of relative clause cmavo
  9. To Boston Via The Road Go I, With An Excursion Into The Land Of Modals
    1. Introductory
    2. Standard bridi form: “cu”
    3. Tagging places: FA
    4. Conversion: SE
    5. Modal places: FIhO, FEhU
    6. Modal tags: BAI
    7. Modal sentence connection: the causals
    8. Other modal connections
    9. Modal selbri
    10. Modal relative phrases; Comparison
    11. Mixed modal connection
    12. Modal conversion: JAI
    13. Modal negation
    14. Sticky modals
    15. Logical and non-logical connection of modals
    16. CV’V cmavo of selma'o BAI with irregular forms
    17. Complete table of BAI cmavo with rough English equivalents
  10. Imaginary Journeys: The Lojban Space/Time Tense System
    1. Introductory
    2. Spatial tenses: FAhA and VA
    3. Compound spatial tenses
    4. Temporal tenses: PU and ZI
    5. Interval sizes: VEhA and ZEhA
    6. Vague intervals and non-specific tenses
    7. Dimensionality: VIhA
    8. Movement in space: MOhI
    9. Interval properties: TAhE and “roi”
    10. Event contours: ZAhO and “re'u”
    11. Space interval modifiers: FEhE
    12. Tenses as sumti tcita
    13. Sticky and multiple tenses: KI
    14. Story time
    15. Tenses in subordinate bridi
    16. Tense relations between sentences
    17. Tensed logical connectives
    18. Tense negation
    19. Actuality, potentiality, capability: CAhA
    20. Logical and non-logical connections between tenses
    21. Sub-events
    22. Conversion of sumti tcita: JAI
    23. Tenses versus modals
    24. Tense questions: “cu'e”
    25. Explicit magnitudes
    26. Finally (an exercise for the much-tried reader)
    27. Summary of tense selma'o
    28. List of spatial directions and direction-like relations
  11. Events, Qualities, Quantities, And Other Vague Words: On Lojban Abstraction
    1. The syntax of abstraction
    2. Event abstraction
    3. Types of event abstractions
    4. Property abstractions
    5. Amount abstractions
    6. Truth-value abstraction: “jei”
    7. Predication/sentence abstraction
    8. Indirect questions
    9. Minor abstraction types
    10. Lojban sumti raising
    11. Event-type abstractors and event contour tenses
    12. Abstractor connection
    13. Table of abstractors
  12. Dog House And White House: Determining lujvo Place Structures
    1. Why have lujvo?
    2. The meaning of tanru: a necessary detour
    3. The meaning of lujvo
    4. Selecting places
    5. Symmetrical and asymmetrical lujvo
    6. Dependent places
    7. Ordering lujvo places.
    8. lujvo with more than two parts.
    9. Eliding SE rafsi from seltau
    10. Eliding SE rafsi from tertau
    11. Eliding KE and KEhE rafsi from lujvo
    12. Abstract lujvo
    13. Implicit-abstraction lujvo
    14. Anomalous lujvo
    15. Comparatives and superlatives
    16. Notes on gismu place structures
  13. Oooh! Arrgh! Ugh! Yecch! Attitudinal and Emotional Indicators
    1. What are attitudinal indicators?
    2. Pure emotion indicators
    3. Propositional attitude indicators
    4. Attitudes as scales
    5. The space of emotions
    6. Emotional categories
    7. Attitudinal modifiers
    8. Compound indicators
    9. The uses of indicators
    10. Attitude questions; empathy; attitude contours
    11. Evidentials
    12. Discursives
    13. Miscellaneous indicators
    14. Vocative scales
    15. A sample dialogue
    16. Tentative conclusion
  14. If Wishes Were Horses: The Lojban Connective System
    1. Logical connection and truth tables
    2. The Four basic vowels
    3. The six types of logical connectives
    4. Logical connection of bridi
    5. Forethought bridi connection
    6. sumti connection
    7. More than two propositions
    8. Grouping of afterthought connectives
    9. Compound bridi
    10. Multiple compound bridi
    11. Termset logical connection
    12. Logical connection within tanru
    13. Truth questions and connective questions
    14. Non-logical connectives
    15. More about non-logical connectives
    16. Interval connectives and forethought non-logical connection
    17. Logical and non-logical connectives within mekso
    18. Tenses, modals, and logical connection
    19. Abstractor connection and connection within abstractions
    20. Constructs and appropriate connectives
    21. Truth functions and corresponding logical connectives
    22. Rules for making logical and non-logical connectives
    23. Locations of other tables
  15. “No” Problems: On Lojban Negation
    1. Introductory
    2. bridi negation
    3. Scalar Negation
    4. selbri and tanru negation
    5. Expressing scales in selbri negation
    6. sumti negation
    7. Negation of minor grammatical constructs
    8. Truth questions
    9. Affirmations
    10. Metalinguistic negation forms
    11. Summary — Are All Possible Questions About Negation Now Answered?
  16. “Who Did You Pass On The Road? Nobody”: Lojban And Logic
    1. What’s wrong with this picture?
    2. Existential claims, prenexes, and variables
    3. Universal claims
    4. Restricted claims: “da poi”
    5. Dropping the prenex
    6. Variables with generalized quantifiers
    7. Grouping of quantifiers
    8. The problem of “any”
    9. Negation boundaries
    10. bridi negation and logical connectives
    11. Using “naku” outside a prenex
    12. Logical Connectives and DeMorgan’s Law
    13. selbri variables
    14. A few notes on variables
    15. Conclusion
  17. As Easy As A-B-C? The Lojban Letteral System And Its Uses
    1. What’s a letteral, anyway?
    2. A to Z in Lojban, plus one
    3. Upper and lower cases
    4. The universal “bu”
    5. Alien alphabets
    6. Accent marks and compound lerfu words
    7. Punctuation marks
    8. What about Chinese characters?
    9. lerfu words as pro-sumti
    10. References to lerfu
    11. Mathematical uses of lerfu strings
    12. Acronyms
    13. Computerized character codes
    14. List of all auxiliary lerfu-word cmavo
    15. Proposed lerfu words — introduction
    16. Proposed lerfu words for the Greek alphabet
    17. Proposed lerfu words for the Cyrillic alphabet
    18. Proposed lerfu words for the Hebrew alphabet
    19. Proposed lerfu words for some accent marks and multiple letters
    20. Proposed lerfu words for radio communication
  18. lojbau mekso: Mathematical Expressions in Lojban
    1. Introductory
    2. Lojban numbers
    3. Signs and numerical punctuation
    4. Special numbers
    5. Simple infix expressions and equations
    6. Forethought operators (Polish notation, functions)
    7. Other useful selbri for mekso bridi
    8. Indefinite numbers
    9. Approximation and inexact numbers
    10. Non-decimal and compound bases
    11. Special mekso selbri
    12. Number questions
    13. Subscripts
    14. Infix operators revisited
    15. Vectors and matrices
    16. Reverse Polish notation
    17. Logical and non-logical connectives within mekso
    18. Using Lojban resources within mekso
    19. Other uses of mekso
    20. Explicit operator precedence
    21. Miscellany
    22. Four score and seven: a mekso problem
    23. mekso selma'o summary
    24. Complete table of VUhU cmavo, with operand structures
    25. Complete table of PA cmavo: digits, punctuation, and other numbers.
    26. Table of MOI cmavo, with associated rafsi and place structures
  19. Putting It All Together: Notes on the Structure of Lojban Texts
    1. Introductory
    2. Sentences: I
    3. Paragraphs: NIhO
    4. Topic-comment sentences: ZOhU
    5. Questions and answers
    6. Subscripts: XI
    7. Utterance ordinals: MAI
    8. Attitude scope markers: FUhE/FUhO
    9. Quotations: LU, LIhU, LOhU, LEhU
    10. More on quotations: ZO, ZOI
    11. Contrastive emphasis: BAhE
    12. Parenthesis and metalinguistic commentary: TO, TOI, SEI
    13. Erasure: SI, SA, SU
    14. Hesitation: Y
    15. No more to say: FAhO
    16. List of cmavo interactions
    17. List of Elidable Terminators
  20. A Catalogue of selma'o
  21. Formal Grammars
    1. YACC Grammar of Lojban
    2. EBNF Grammar of Lojban
    3. EBNF Cross-Reference